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Associated Press

American Sepp Kuss wins Tour de France's grueling 15th stage

American rider Sepp Kuss has won the grueling 15th stage of the Tour de France while overall race leader Tadej Pogacar remained on course for his second overall victory

ANDORRA LA VELLA, Andorra (AP) - American rider Sepp Kuss won the grueling 15th stage of the Tour de France on Sunday as race leader Tadej Pogacar remained on course for his second overall victory.

Kuss is the first American to win a stage at cycling's biggest race since Tyler Farrar 10 years ago.

The 26-year-old Colorado native left it late to make his move in the punishing 191-kilometer (118-mile) ride from Ceret at the foothills of the Pyrenees to the tiny mountain-bound nation of Andorra.

Kuss attacked going up the 1,796-meter Col de Beixalis and maintained his hard-fought advantage over Spanish veteran Alejandro Valverde, who was 23 seconds behind. Dutch rider Wout Poels finished third and took over the polka dot jersey for the best climber.

Pogacar was only questioned toward the end of the stage as Jonas Vingegaard followed Ben O'Connor's example with two attacks.

Pogacar answered both without any problems and increased his overall lead to more than five minutes over Rigoberto Uran and Vingegaard. Guillaume Martin, who was second overall ahead of the stage, dropped back to ninth.

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Sepp Kuss of the US celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 191.3 kilometers (118.9 miles) with start in Ceret and finish in Andorra-la-Vella, Andorra, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Sepp Kuss of the US celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 191.3 kilometers (118.9 miles) with start in Ceret and finish in Andorra-la-Vella, Andorra, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Sepp Kuss of the US celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 191.3 kilometers (118.9 miles) with start in Ceret, France, and finish in Andorra-la-Vella, Andorra, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Sepp Kuss of the US celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 191.3 kilometers (118.9 miles) with start in Ceret, France, and finish in Andorra-la-Vella, Andorra, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Stage winner Sepp Kuss of the US celebrates on the podium after the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 191.3 kilometers (118.9 miles) with start in Ceret and finish in Andorra-la-Vella, Andorra, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Stage winner Sepp Kuss of the US celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 191.3 kilometers (118.9 miles) with start in Ceret and finish in Andorra-la-Vella, Andorra, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Second placed Spain's Alejandro Valverde, left, congratulates stage winner Sepp Kuss of the US after the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 191.3 kilometers (118.9 miles) with start in Ceret and finish in Andorra-la-Vella, Andorra, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (Thomas Samson/Pool Photo via AP)
Spain's Enric Mas, Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, Netherland's Wilco Kelderman and Richard Carapaz of Ecuador, from elft to right, cross the finish line of the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 191.3 kilometers (118.9 miles) with start in Ceret and finish in Andorra-la-Vella, Andorra, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates on the podium after the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 191.3 kilometers (118.9 miles) with start in Ceret and finish in Andorra-la-Vella, Andorra, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Spain's Alejandro Valverde crosses the finish line in second place during the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 191.3 kilometers (118.9 miles) with start in Ceret and finish in Andorra-la-Vella, Andorra, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Michael Woods of Canada crosses the finish line after losing his best climber's dotted jersey to Netherland's Wouter Poels during the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 191.3 kilometers (118.9 miles) with start in Ceret and finish in Andorra-la-Vella, Andorra, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Michael Woods of Canada, wearing the best climber's dotted jersey, cools off during the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 191.3 kilometers (118.9 miles) with start in Ceret and finish in Andorra-la-Vella, Andorra, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)